Mohamed Bzeek has taken in the sickest of the sick children of Los Angeles’ foster care system for the last 20 years. Every single child that Bzeek fosters has a terminal illness and no one else to care for them. Over the past 20 years, Bzeek has buried ten children, some of whom have died in his arms.
“If anyone ever calls us and says, ‘This kid needs to go home on hospice,’ there’s only one name we think of,” said Melissa Testerman, a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) intake coordinator who finds placements for sick children. Bzeek is the only foster parent in the area who will come to their aid.
The most recent child he welcomed was a Libyan immigrant. The 6-year-old girl is bedridden with a rare brain defect. The child suffers from daily seizures, limb paralysis and is blind and deaf. Bzeek loves her like she is his own.
“I know she can’t hear, can’t see, but I always talk to her,” he said. “I’m always holding her, playing with her, touching her. … She has feelings. She has a soul. She’s a human being,” Bzeek said.
Bzeek, 62, is a kind man with a long, dark beard and gentle voice. He is the oldest of 10 children who came to America from Libya as a college student in 1978. He and his wife started caring for terminally ill children. After she passed away he carried on the daunting, but the incredibly rewarding care of these kids.
“The key is, you have to love them like your own,” Bzeek said recently. “I know they are sick. I know they are going to die. I do my best as a human being and leave the rest to God.”
At any given time, there are about 600 children that fall under the DCFS’s Medical Case Management Services. These children are indefinitely hospitalized until someone like Bzeek comes along. However, there are very few people in the world like Mohammed Bzeek.
There are currently 600,000 kids in the foster care system. Bzeek’s story is an inspiration and hopefully, helps you consider how you could change the life of a little one forever.
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